- From 2007 to 2008, Western Australia had the highest proportional increase (9.2%) in the number of births of all the states and territories.
- Since 2002, when fertility reached an historic low of 1.70 babies per woman, the total fertility rate (TFR) has trended upwards, reaching 2.12 babies per woman in 2008. This was the highest TFR recorded for this state since 1976.
- In line with national trends, the recent increase in the TFR would appear to be the result of higher fertility among older women. Women aged 30-34 years recorded the highest fertility rates of all age groups.
- In the ten years to 2008, the number of births to Western Australian women aged 35 years and over rose by 79%. These births represented 15% of all births in 1998, climbing to 21% by 2008. Women in this age group had an age-specific fertility rate of just 18.1 births per 1,000 in 1998, rising to 30.7 in 2008.
- In contrast, the age-specific fertility rate of women aged 15-19 years has barely changed over the decade, decreasing slightly over the first few years, from 21.4 in 1998, then increasing again to 22.8 in 2008. This compares with an age-specific fertility rate of 116.6 for Indigenous women in the 15-19 age group.
- High fertility rates at younger ages contribute to the relatively high overall fertility rate of Indigenous women both in Western Australia and nationally. The TFR for Indigenous women in this state rose to 3.16 babies per woman in 2008 from 2.75 babies per woman in the previous year. In 2008, there were 2,500 births registered in Western Australia where at least one parent self-identified as being of Indigenous origin (almost 8% of all births).
- Ex-nuptial births accounted for approximately 38% of all births registered in Western Australia in 2008; this was similar to the proportion in 2007 but substantially higher than in 1998 (32%).
- Life expectancy has continued to rise for both sexes. The life expectancy of a child born between 2006 and 2008 was estimated to be 79.3 years for boys and 84.0 years for girls. One decade ago life expectancy at birth was three years lower for boys (76.1) and two years lower for girls (81.9).
2 Births, Selected Indicators, 2008
|Crude birth rate(a) |
|Total fertility rate(b) |
|All births |
|Births to Indigenous women |
|Registered births |
|Age of mother |
|15-19 years |
|35 years and over |
|Age-specific fertility |
|15-19 years |
|35 years and over |
|Median age of mother |
|Life expectancy at birth |
|(a) Number of births registered in the calendar year per 1,000 of the estimated resident population at 30 June of that year.|
(b) The sum of age-specific fertility rates (live births at each age of mother per 1,000 of the estimated female population of women of that age. It represents the number of children a female would bear during her lifetime if she experienced current age-specific fertility rates at each age of her reproductive life.
(c) Based on death rates over a three year period during which mortality has remained much the same: 2006-2008; 2005-2007; and 1996-1998.
Source: Births, Australia (cat. no. 3301.0); Australian Historical Population Statistics (cat. no. 3105.0.65.001)
The following link takes you to summary births data (1998-2008) for Australian states and territories for total populations (Table 1) and for Indigenous populations (Table 9) on the Downloads page of Births, Australia, 2008,
(cat. no 3301.0).
The next link takes you to historical data from Australian Historical Population Statistics
(cat. no 3105.0.65.001)